Accountant told to sell house to repay £500k fraud

A jailed accountant who over a seven year period fiddled half a million pounds from the aviation company he worked for is selling his home to pay back some of what he took a court heard today.

Christopher Bailey was jailed for 34 months in March 2012 for making 165 fraudulent transactions over seven years at Aerofloor of Colchester. After today's hearing, if he doesn't make proper efforts to pay back the money, he could get another 30 months in jail.

At an earlier hearing, Chelmsford Crown Court was told that the fraud had affected the growth of the company.

Bailey, 59, of Parley Beams Cottages, Earls Colne, began working for the business in 2003.

The court was told that he managed to exploit loopholes in the company's tax procedures and started stealing large sums two to three times every month. Initially it was to pay debts but then he spent it on luxuries.

He had also pretended to pay suppliers and skimmed money into his own bank account.

Father-of-two Bailey, who has no previous convictions, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to three offences - falsifying accounts, obtaining money by deception and fraud.

He was said to have falsely represented that accounts he had prepared were accurate and to have abused his position as company accountant to falsely obtain money for himself.

At today's confiscation of assets hearing, Judge Rodger Hayward Smith QC said that Bailey had obtained £514,245 in criminal benefit and that he had £135,815 in available assets. That represents his half share of the family home.

He gave him three months to pay the money to Aerofloor in compensation or face another 30 months in jail.

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